Toilet paper, cleaning supplies and nonperishable foods flew off store shelves in the pandemic's early days while, in the weeks and months that followed, disruptions in manufacturing and the supply chain contributed to shortages among lumber, appliances, aluminum cans, meat and even coins.1
Supplies of some of these items, like toilet paper, have rebounded in many parts of the world, but other staples, like hand soap, can still be hard to come by. It remains to be seen whether a "second wave" of COVID-19 will hit in the coming months, prompting additional lockdowns.
However, in the U.S., the government appears to be preparing citizens for the worst, even though indicators that track COVID-19-like illness and the percentage of laboratory tests that are positive for SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — have decreased nationally since mid-July, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, also stated that Americans shouldn't expect to return to normal anytime soon, even if a fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine is released. "If you're talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to COVID, it's going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021," he said in a news release.3
With that in mind, it's always a good idea to be prepared in the event you find yourself quarantined, isolated or living in an area with strict lockdowns in place that trigger another round of panic buying.